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VANDALIA – The Lady Vandals were happy to be back.
Freshman Lindsay Dagen hit a two-run double to break open a one-run game in the bottom of the fourth inning to back up an 11-strikeout effort from senior Megan Godoyo, and Vandalia beat St. Elmo/Brownstown, 5-2, to run its winning streak to three games.
“You have to score runs, and we’re getting enough hits,” said Vandalia coach Brian Buscher. “I think we’re going to hold people down for the most part, as long as we play solid defensively.”
The Lady Vandals (3-4) didn’t commit an error in the game, the team’s first since a win on March 31, and Godoyo allowed four hits and two walks in a complete-game effort.
She struck out every batter in SEB’s lineup, and had a strikeout in all but one inning, while holding an opponent to four or fewer runs for the fourth time this season.
“She threw the ball well and deserves credit for that,” said SEB coach Megan Burrus. “She is good, and also hit the ball hard every time. We just came up with a good play twice.”
She has struck out 11 batters in three of her six appearances this season, and has 55 punch outs on the season in going 3-3 after missing all but a few games of the past two seasons due to injuries.
“At times, she was hitting spots and at times she wasn’t, but for the most part, she was,” Buscher said. “She’s been effectively wild at times, but she’ll get her control back.
“When she does that, it’s going to take a good at-bat for someone to hit the ball hard somewhere.”
The game was tied at one going to the bottom of the fourth inning – with Vandalia sophomore Karlie Bright scoring on a wild pitch in the first and SEB senior Danie Austin scoring on a wild pitch in the second – and the Lady Vandals took advantage of some miscues to get ahead.
Senior Taylor Well walked to open the inning, and sophomore Gracie Morrison reached base on an uncharacteristic outfield error. Well scored when the Lady Eagles committed another error on a base running play.
Freshman Molly Kern then singled, and senior Brandy Protz reached on an error to load the bases.
“We have to be thinking about what we can do to make (the rally) as minor as possible, but we let is escalate instead of stopping it,” Burrus said.
Dagen stroked the first pitch of her at-bat all the way to the centerfield fence to bring in two runs. Protz was tagged out at home, and Dagen scored on the next pitch when Bright singled to center.
“Lindsay has been having good at-bats and has done nice things at the plate,” Buscher said. “She’s improved her swing, and hit the ball hard twice today.”
The Lady Eagles (5-5) appeared ready to match Vandalia’s rally in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs, but they were only able to scratch across one run on an infield single by junior Darby Moss.
Godoyo retired the final six batters on 16 pitches to hand SEB just its second loss in six games decided by three or fewer runs this season.
Tuesday, April 8
WP: Godoyo; 7 IP, 11 K
LP: Baylee Scholes, 6 IP, 1 K
Lady Vandals: Dagen, 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, run; Bright, 1-for-2, RBI, run, sac bunt, SB; Well, 1-for-2, run, BB; Godoyo, 1-for-3; Protz, 1-for-3; Kern, 1-for-2; Madison Click, run; Morrison, run; Kylie Sellers, sac bunt.
Lady Eagles: Moss, 1-for-3, RBI; Morgan Brown, 1-for-3; Stephanie Calhoun, 1-for-3; Scholes, 1-for-3; D. Austin, run, BB; Bethany Oberlink, run, HBP, BB.
The inaugural Vandalia softball tournament was canceled last Saturday due to poor field conditions.
The tournament has been rescheduled for May 10, but likely won't feature six teams.
The lost games were the third and fourth straight for the Lady Vandals (3-4), and had they won a game in pool play, they would have played in a place game.
It leaves Vandalia having missed almost half of its first 12 games.
With nicer weather coming up at the end of the week, Vandalia will likely get a pair of games in, starting on Wednesday at Breese Central, and then on Friday when it opens the South Central Conference season against Pana.
The SCC opener was supposed to be at Carlinville last Friday, but was rained out and rescheduled for April 29.
The Pana/Vandalia has always been an entertaining one, and this season’s is expected to be no different.
There could be a lot of offense, as Pana (1-4) has allowed 81 runs and the Lady Vandals surrendered 39 runs in the first four games before giving up just seven in the next two.
Last season, Vandalia was an 11-8 winner.
Vandalia continues play next Tuesday at home against Altamont and next Wednesday at Centralia.
After playing its first nine games, SEB missed four straight due to last week's weather.
The Lady Eagles have a full slate of games upcoming.
•Thursday vs. Neoga
•Friday at Effingham
•Monday at Altamont
•Tuesday vs. South Central
•Wednesday at Ramsey.
All but the Effingham game count in conference standings for SEB, which is currently 1-0 in the National Trail and Egyptian-lllini conferences.